Pat Barker (1943– ). Among the greatest living practitioners of historical fiction, celebrated for the Regeneration trilogy (1991–1995), a series of novels set during the First World War. Born in Yorkshire, Barker was raised by her maternal grandparents. Her grandmother worked in a fish-and-chips shop, and her grandfather, a veteran of World War I, was a laborer. She was educated at the London School of Economics and worked as a teacher before devoting herself to writing. Inspired by a creative writing course with the novelist Angela Carter (1940–1992), Barker began to explore the realities of working-class life, eventually producing such novels as Union Street (1982) and Blow Your House Down (1984). She turned to historical fiction in Regeneration (1991), a novel focused on the wartime experience of poet Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967). The next two novels in the trilogy are The Eye in the Door (1993) and The Ghost Road (1995), a work that earned her the Booker Prize in 1995 for the best full-length novel written by a citizen of the British Commonwealth. Barker’s novels are known for their vivid accounts of war and for their interest in issues of class, sexuality, and psychology.
[Courtesy: Professor Timothy Spurgin]